Maybe this Chicago Fire team is better than they have appeared thus far. After appearing utterly hapless over the first few weeks of the season, they have now won two games in a row after they beat Toronto FC 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. However, they not only beat Toronto but came back from being a goal down and ran the Reds ragged in the second half to win.
Chicago came firing out of the gates, and utterly dominated the game's opening exchanges. They bossed the opening minutes, and forced Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik into a couple of early saves. They then found an opener in the 14th minute when Joevin Jones went on a slaloming run through the Toronto defence before curling a shot with the outside of his foot inside the far post.
However, Toronto soon responded through Sebastian Giovinco who made it 1-1 in the 20th minute. Toronto strode forward brilliantly, but the finish was not deserving of the move. The Italian hit a knuckleball through traffic which Chicago keeper Jon Busch misjudged, and the ball trickled over the line after hitting his leg.
Chicago was unmoved, and continued to attack. They forced Bendik into a number of saves, and went closest to scoring again when Toronto captain Michael Bradley nearly finished into his own net in the 28th minute. Shaun Maloney worked a piece of magic on the left wing for Chicago and floated a cross into the middle of the box where Bradley inadvertently deflected it up and it seemed certain it would nestle in his own net before Bendik acrobatically touched it over the bar.
Chicago came out from the break with the same attacking verve they had shown in the first half, but it was Toronto who first broke the deadlock in the second half. The Atomic Ant was played in behind the defense, and after some nice footwork Giovinco clipped a wonderful cross right into Cheyrou's path. The Frenchman finished beautifully, dinking the ball into the side netting on the half volley off his shin pad in the 54th minute.
Again, the Fire stayed mentally strong and got a response just two minutes later. It was almost a carbon copy of Giovinco's first half goal, minus the great passing move. Harry Shipp floated a cross field ball to Maloney on the edge of the box, and he cut in off his right foot and hit a knuckler of his own through traffic which somehow evaded Bendik.
12 minutes later, Chicago found their winner. Immediately following Warren Creavalle's red card, Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz had a hit from distance which swerved away from Bendik into the bottom corner. It was a Big Red specialty, and as the saying goes it was a "captain's goal".
Toronto were really hurt for being down to 10 men, and Chicago could have had five or six goals. However, Bendik continued to stand on his head as he had done all game long, and kept Chicago out. Chicago now moves up to 3rd in the Eastern Conference on six points while Toronto falls to 8th on three points.